MILAN May 12 European shares inched higher in
early deals on Friday, underpinned by gains among drugmakers and
some fresh dealmaking activity, while luxury group Richemont
fell on a disappointing earnings update.
Cartier owner Richemont fell 5.6 percent, leading
losers in Europe after saying the trading environment would stay
volatile after net profit fell more than the market expected.
In spite of the disappointing update from the heavyweight
luxury group, results in Europe have been surprisingly strong
with 67 percent of companies beating earning expectations,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data. Combined with easing
political worries, earnings have helped the pan-European STOXX
600 hit 21-month highs earlier in the week.
By 0714 GMT the STOXX and euro zone blue chips
both rose by 0.1 percent, while the UK's FTSE 100
added 0.2 percent, supported by a 4 percent surge in
AstraZeneca following positive trial results from a key
Gains in the British drugmaker helped lift Europe's
healthcare index up 0.8 percent, making it the biggest
sectoral gainer in Europe.
United Internet was the biggest gainer on the
STOXX, up 9 percent, after saying that it plans to buy a
majority stake in mobile operator Drillisch to create
a stronger challenger in the German telecoms market.
(Reporting by Danilo Masoni)